The month of May was officially designated Asian Heritage Month by the Government of Canada in 2002. It recognizes the significant contributions Canadians of Asian descent have made and continue to make to all aspects of Canadian society. This year’s theme also acknowledges the resilience and resolve of Asian Canadians in overcoming the adversity they have faced throughout the country’s history.
Here are three digital agency owners bridging digital and design.
Affan Mahmud Chowdury // Notionhive
Notionhive CEO Affan Mahmud Chowdhury runs a full-service creative digital agency with offices in Canada and Bangladesh. The company provides its clients with 360-degree digital solutions and employs over 60 people.
Affan obtained both his MBA and BBA from the prominent Institution of Business Administration, University of Dhaka. He started his career in the HR Department at the Standard Chartered Bank but resigned after less than a year before venturing into entrepreneurship.
Since then, he has founded several other companies in diverse sectors, including a hotel, coffee shop, and restaurant. He also works as a business advisor to startups and small businesses. Whenever he’s not watching reruns of MacGyver or spending time with his family, Affan always strives to find new or uncontested market spaces referred to as a “blue ocean”.
Jesse Pyne’s entrepreneurial journey first began in 2018 with Salon Tao, an eco-conscious hair salon he co-founded that offers gender-free services and pricing. Situated in Centretown, the salon prides itself on challenging conventional beauty norms by taking an inclusive approach that celebrates gender diversity. Jesse works behind-the-scenes as the head of Tao’s Business Development and Administration services, overseeing the salon’s management, branding, and community outreach.
Last year, he created Purpose Fuel, a design agency that helps older adults bring their creative projects to life, foster social participation and find their purpose. They offer services such as e-commerce, web development, multimedia design, and advertising. They even provide consulting and training around digital platforms and technology.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Jesse studied Information Systems & Human Rights at Carleton University. He specialises in interactive multimedia development and cites his previous experience as a Personal Support Worker at Carefor Health & Community Services as inspiration for starting the company. Besides handling the business side of Purpose Fuel, Jesse enjoys being hands-on with other projects, whether doing design work or connecting and collaborating with clients.
Mailyne Briggs // Kilam Media
Mailyne Briggs is a single mom who seemingly does it all. The Filipino-Canadian artist and entrepreneur is the owner of Kilam Media, Digital Communications Officer for the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, and co-founder of two art-based non-profits – A Real Thought (A.R.T.) In Action and In Our Tongues.
Kilam Media focuses primarily on helping BIPOC women, artists, small businesses, and nonprofits to build their brand and grow their online presence through its accessible digital marketing, content creation, and branding services. They do everything from audio and video production to graphic design and photography.
Mailyne prioritizes uplifting and amplifying the voices of the LBTQS2+ and BIPOC communities. Her non-profit organization A.R.T. In Action provides free art workshops that support the mental health and well-being of youth and community members facing barriers. The first of its kind in Ottawa, the In Our Tongues Reading & Art Series showcases BIPOC poets, writers, musicians, and other artists, including those across the gender spectrum. Most recently, she helped two local creatives to launch Firegrove Studio, Ottawa’s first all-women-of-colour, full-service creation and production company. She credits her son as the driving inspiration behind her business, community work, and art.
This article is the third in a special Asian History Month series by Invest Ottawa.
Jamaican-born Avah Taylor is a writer, fashion blogger and personal stylist based in Canada.
When not busy building her brand or bringing fashion to the masses through her website, she offers style makeovers and personal shopping services and is a regular contributor to Shifter Magazine.
DMS helps small businesses impacted by COVID-19 to survive the pandemic and thrive in the new economy. Discover how the Future Proof program has helped small businesses thrive at Investottawa.ca.
A special thank you to the Government of Canada and specifically FedDev Ontario for making this program possible and enabling the team at Invest Ottawa to provide critical support to main street businesses when it is needed most.